I want to translate "Using the knife on these types of surfaces will dull the knife." This I find to be difficult grammatically as well. However, I'm not sure how to say "dull" in Mandarin, and google doesn't provide much help.

2 Answers 2


Dull (adjective) as in 'a dull knife' is in Mandarin. There is not a two-character version for it.

Dull (vt.) as in 'dull the knife' is 使..变钝, literally 'make .. become dull'.

Example of 钝 (adjective):

It's impossible to cut a pineapple with such a dull knife.


To translate your sentence, which is also an example of 使..变钝:

Using the knife on these types of surfaces will dull the knife.


Related words:

  • (Knife or blade) sharp (adjective): 快 or 锋利.

快 must be used in the same sentence as the noun (刀), otherwise it doesn't mean 'sharp'. 锋利 can be used standalone.

  • Sharpen the knife (V+O): 磨刀.

An example using all these words:


Knife becomes dull after some use. Burnish it and it will be sharp again.

  • You can certainly stick another character to front and make it two character, such as 粗钝. Of course, the core part is 钝.
    – user58955
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 23:16
  • @user58955 Sure but 粗钝 is not a common word and can't replace 钝 in most circumstances.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 23:20
  • not uncommon in 武侠小说 (kongfu novels)
    – user58955
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 23:22
  • @user58955 Indeed. This answer is speaking in the context of OP's sentence:)
    – NS.X.
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 23:23
  • Actually, according to your translation, 变钝 is an acceptable word, literally "become dull". "在这些表面上用刀会使它变钝。" Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 2:02

You may say


pinyin: mo2 dun4 yi4 ba3 dau1


磨钝: make something dull.

一: a

把: classifier of knife.

刀: knife.

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